Mohali: India’s lower middle order once again put up a power-packed performance as the hosts consolidated their position reaching 354-7 against England at lunch on day 3 of the third cricket Test on Monday.
India now has a lead of 71 runs and will be looking to extend it considerably so that it puts pressure on England when they bat second on a track which has not shown considerable wear and tear.
Ravichandran Ashwin (72) was the lone batsman out during the morning session but his 97-run stand for the seventh wicket with Ravindra Jadeja (70 batting) is likely to have a great impact in the final context of the match.
Jadeja also completed his third half-century in Test cricket and also reached his career-best score eclipsing previous best of 68 against the same opposition at Lord’s in 2014.
Jayant Yadav, India’s ‘find of the series’ once again impressed with his fighting qualities as his gutsy 26 not out also frustrated the visitors.
Jayant added 53 runs for the eighth wicket with Jadeja as the morning session certainly belonged to the home team.
For the record, no visiting team has won against India after having conceded 65-run lead in the first innings. The last time it happened was 52 years ago in 1964 when Bob Simpson Australia won after conceding a 65-run first innings lead.
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There couldn’t have been a better start for the hosts as Chris Woakes bowled a juicy half-volley on the pads for Ashwin to clip one to the boundary.
The lead came when Jadeja lofted Moeen Ali over mid-off in the last delivery of the 88th over.
Ashwin was looking in fluent touch as he slashed Woakes hard for a boundary between point and cover region. It was followed by another fluent drive as the all-rounder reached the 70s.
Finally, after India reached 300, Ben Stokes broke the partnership with Ashwin playing a lazy drive to a delivery way outside off-stump only for Jos Buttler to take a low catch.
But Jadeja got an able ally in Jayant as the duo didn’t curb strokeplay showing positive intent.
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The Saurashtra all-rounder duly completed his 50 when he pushed Adil Rashid for a single and celebrated it with a customary sword wielding.
As if to drive home a point, he flat-batted Stokes over mid-on for a boundary.
Young Jayant showed his batting prowess once again as he on-drove and square drove Jimmy Anderson before playing a pull-shot off Rashid.
(With PTI inputs)